Sunday, January 2, 2011


Mia Self
a Flickrfriend
asked me how I learnt to cook
if my mother didn't teach me.
Well, she did.
When I said she couldn't bake
I meant just that
Her cakes were like hockey pucks and I don't remember her ever making cookies

she grew up in very cosmopolitan surroundings
and everything she ever wanted was there in the shops
like in any big city
you have groups of people
who stick together
make their own things

In Toronto
Little Italy is full of  little short  men
strutting around like Mussolini
knocking women off the sidewalks
and just being
I know
I was the one knocked off!!!
but you can get just about anything
they have in Italy
including the cow milk jugs
that look like they are vomiting on your food!!!
LOVE those things!!!
:) :) :)

And in China Town
there are live animals there ready for slaughter
or dead ones
still looking at you
with their little beady eyes

When my oldest son went to visit my sister
she took him to the markets
and after seeing all these animals
dead and alive
he vowed to be
sweet boy!!
You can get lots of lovely things there

so, my Mum taught me to cook
and my Dad
on Saturdays at lunch time
when he and I were the only ones home
Mum was at work and who knows where the sister was
up in London being a London dolly bird I guess!!

so Dad and I had to fend for ourselves
and we used to make all sorts of things
we used the grill (broiler) a lot
on the tiny little stove we had
 in the even tinier kitchen
that was always cold
we made Welsh rarebit
and grilled tomatoes
we fried eggs and bacon
and chips
he taught me how to cook rice for
salmon kedgeree

we used to have fun coming up with whatever we could think of
those were the days before pizza joints and take out food
if you were hungry
you cooked it!!

there was a Wimpy's on the High Street
but Dad wasn't a fast food type!!
Wimpys was/is a hamburger place where the hamburgers have tiny onion bits on them
and when I was a college we would go there and flick the onion bits off at each other!!
and the boys would squirt the ketchup and mustard bottles so hard the contents would hit the ceiling!!

If my father had known.....I would have been in big trouble
He expected better behaviour and I was a young lady
wasn't I?
He was the man who lived in the desert in Iraq
and ate cheese and jam....
and only had water to drink
so we had to too!!
he never let us forget it!!
I also learnt at school
all those wonderful stodgy English foods
that stick to your gut
brown stew
sponge puddings and custard
all sorts of cakes
that we then took home and our families had to eat.
Dark fruit cakes at Christmas
mince pies
and I also taught myself
once I was married and had to keep us fed
I like to cook
but baking I like more
so there you have it
my life as a chef

do you like to cook and bake?

(the pictures here are mine and off the net
I made the stew and the bread and the piragi and the biscotti in the bag in the dark picture!!

the cow the ducks and the kedgeree
I found through Bing!!!!)

bon appetite !!!


Anonymous said...

I have a lovely picture now of you and your Dad cooking together - what a lovely story!

I love to cook and bake and I have well over a hundred cookbooks. I don't really use them for following recipes as such I use them more so as reference books - I'm more of an experimental cook - I know what goes together and what doesn't so I like to mix it up from time to time!

I learnt from a young age how to cook - my nan was always getting us to help her bake cakes, sausage rolls, putting the jam in jam tarts etc. She used to make the best beef stew EVER when my grandad was still alive but as she is on her own now she hardly ever makes it. I know exactly what she puts in her stew but I just can't make it taste the way she makes it taste no matter what. She just has that magic touch with a stew if you know what I mean.

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much Marilyn!! This was way better than I was ever expecting! I thought you would just say you learnt at school, or had a kind neighbour or Aunt, or just taught yourself. That was a lovely story.. bless your Daddy's cotton socks!! I have always liked to cook. When we were little we had a coal fire with black metal hobs at the side. The kettle sat there to keep warm till we pushed the hob over the fire. Then the kettle would sing as it boiled. We roasted chestnuts underneath, and held bread on a long toasting fork over the embers. If we were very lucky we had marsh mallows to toast.
We had a little 'Baby Belling' oven, and two gas rings under the kitchen table. My Mum did amazing things with this limited equipment. When I was older my friends and I used to spend the day in the woods, making camp fires and cooking 'dampers' ... dough made with flour and water, wrapped round a stick and cooked in the fire. When it was cooked (or usually half cooked) we would fill them with jam and eat them. I thought my baking wasn't too bad, but hubs says I throw the crumbs out for the birds, and the birds throw them back! The thing he likes best is apple tart made with Pâte brisée, jam below the apple and ground almonds above.

Virkat och Kärt said...

Thanks for visiting me, again my friend...I could not find you...

I wish YOU a Happy New Year too!

Now, I am going out in the night of Winter with my dogs ~~~
I hope you can understand my english here, it is not good, by I do my best ;*)

KRAM från Eva

Nilla said...

I rather bake than cook, since my husband does the cooking so much better... But most of all I like to make jam, syrup, and all sorts of conservation of fruits, berries and other things growing. And Christmas candy, I love making Christmas candy!

Clara said...

You have such an interesting and diverse background. Are you talking about Toronto in Canada? Just curious. I prefer to cooking to baking likely because my late Mom used to bake so frequently. We had dessert with every meal.